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Muslim Civil Rights & Advocacy Organization Condemns Synagogue Vandalism



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HARTFORD — The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CT), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Monday condemned anti-Semitic vandalism targeting a Newtown synagogue and expressed solidarity with the local Jewish community.

On Saturday morning, August 24, Newtown police officers discovered that vandals had spray painted and vandalized the building of Congregation Adath Israel on Huntingtown Road.

CAIR-CT Executive Director Tark Richard Aouadi said on August 26 that all forms of hate must be condemned.

“Whether it is a mosque fire in New Haven, graffiti on a local Muslim business in Bloomfield, or vandalism of a Newtown synagogue, all forms of hate cannot be tolerated,” Mr Aouadi said. “It is incumbent on local authorities to investigate the hate crime … and all similar attacks against minority communities throughout the state.

“While Connecticut is a welcoming state, hate-based national organizations and individuals operate in our borders to stoke the fire of hate, bigotry, and misinformation,” he added. “At times those organizations target Muslims and at times they focus on other minorities to ensure divisiveness instead of unity. Rhetoric that serves to demonize any particular minority group or protected class of people must not be tolerated.”

CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants, and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

The Washington-based civil rights organization and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims

The graffiti at the Huntingtown Road synagogue was discovered while a police officer was doing routine building checks Saturday morning. An investigation immediately commenced, according to a statement from Newtown Police Department, via its Facebook page, within hours of the discovery.

Chief of Police James Viadero has been in contact with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who offered a reward of up to $2,500 for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects responsible for the crime.

The Town of Newtown quickly sent employees of its Public Works department to power wash and then repaint the damaged areas of the synagogue. While there were no services scheduled for August 24, the congregation had planned an open house event for the morning of Sunday, August 25. That event was a precursor to a 100th anniversary celebratory service scheduled for September 13.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact Newtown Police Department at 203-270-4255.

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